Category Archives: Linda Cole

Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs and Cats

atopic daffodilsBy Linda Cole

Dermatitis is a condition that causes the skin to become inflamed. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that causes an allergic reaction to the skin. At one time it was referred to as allergic inhalant dermatitis. It’s one of the most common skin diseases found in dogs and cats.

To soothe their itchy skin, a pet dealing with this condition will scratch and search out furniture or other things to rub up against in an effort to easy their itch. Over time, the scratching and rubbing can lead to injuries to the skin which can make it easier for other secondary infections to enter the body. It can become a vicious circle that makes a pet feel miserable.

Causes

Proteins found in the environment likely enter the body through direct contact with the skin, absorbed through the paw pads or inhaled, and possibly ingested. These proteins are called allergens once they produce an allergic response. Atopic dermatitis, also known as atopy, is an allergic reaction to common and normally harmless allergens like house dust mites, house dust, grass, ragweed, trees, mold, pollen, insect proteins, animal dander or other allergens found in the environment. Human skin or natural fibers can also be a culprit.

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8 Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs and Cats

By Linda Cole

As our pets age, many are likely to develop arthritis. Their joints take a beating over the years, but even younger dogs and cats can develop this debilitating ailment. Injuries, stress on joints, repeated joint trauma, infection, tick borne disease, metabolic diseases, genetics, aging and obesity are all factors that can contribute to the development of arthritis, which can have an impact on a pet’s quality of life. Knowing the symptoms of arthritis is critical to catching it in the early stages so you can slow down the degenerative progression to joints.

Stiffness/Lameness

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that attacks the joints. Both cause stiffness and can make it more difficult for a pet to move around. Cartilage is a cushion (shock absorber) between joints that helps to protect the bones. As arthritis progresses, it slowly wears away the cartilage leaving affected joint bones with nothing between them. If the protective cartilage is gone, the bones rub together, causing pain and swollen joints that lead to stiffness and lameness. Because cats are experts at hiding pain, symptoms are harder to see in felines. However, you may notice a high perch she usually makes in one jump may take more than one.

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Can Doggy Kisses Give Us Beneficial Germs?

By Linda Cole

The health benefits of owning a dog are well known. Young children raised in homes with pets have lower incidents of developing allergies and asthma. Pets help reduce anxiety and stress, and can lower our blood pressure. Now a group of researchers from the University of Arizona are taking doggy kisses to a new level – an upcoming study aims to find out if there are beneficial germs for humans in a dog’s slobbery licks. The researchers believe doggy kisses may contain probiotics that are as beneficial to us as a cup of yogurt.

Probiotics are helpful live bacteria and yeasts that live in the gut. They are especially important for a healthy digestive system, which is home to 500+ different types of good and bad bacteria. Probiotics help move food through the gut, balance out the good and bad bacteria to keep the body working normally, lower the amount of bad bacteria that could cause infections or other health concerns, and help replenish good bacteria after a round of antibiotics.

The focus of this new pilot study will be finding out if there’s any positive effect on the overall health of older people who live with a dog. Past studies have shown the health benefits children gain from living with a dog, and researchers want to find out if there are similar results for older people who aren’t dog owners or haven’t had a dog in the home for a period of time.

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Could You Identify Your Dog by Scent Alone?

By Linda Cole

The sniffing ability of the average canine is 1000 times more powerful than humans, and they can locate their owner in a sea of other people. Some smells we encounter can cause an emotional reaction by stirring up past memories. Many everyday odors are registered unconsciously in the mind and we barely notice them. Dog owners may scoff, but one study showed that the smell of your dog is imprinted in your mind and that you do have the ability to recognize your pet by scent alone!

Different odors surround us every day in the home and workplace, but most of them are so familiar we don’t even think about them. We are more likely to notice an unfamiliar scent that catches our attention. There have been a handful of studies done on humans to determine if we have the ability to recognize people close to us based on smell alone. It turns out that mothers can accurately recognize the smell of their babies. Both mothers and fathers can identify the scent of their children, and women can accurately categorize strangers into different age groups based only on the individual’s scent.

In a study done by psychologists at Queens University in Ireland, 26 dog owners were recruited to participate in research to see if they would be able to identify their own dogs by scent alone. Each owner was given a flannel blanket and instructed to remove all other bedding in their dog’s bed and use only the flannel blanket for three consecutive nights. Owners were also instructed to have their dog sleep in a different room from theirs.

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The Changing Face of Veterinary Medicine

veterinary medBy Linda Cole

The field of study in veterinary medicine is wide open these days for people who love animals and want to pursue a career working with household pets, wildlife, farm animals or other animals. Advances in technology are helping pets live longer, and changes in the way animals are viewed have created a need for more specialized studies. Veterinary medicine is no longer just about caring for pets in an office. There’s even a field of study that helps protect our food supply. There are some surprising opportunities available for someone with a degree in veterinary medicine besides working as a veterinarian or vet technician.

Sports Medicine

The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation is open for veterinarians from around the world to get an advanced degree in the science of sports medicine. Its main focus is on the structural, physiological, medical and surgical needs of working and athletic animals. Currently there’s two fields of study: Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (Canine) and Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (Equine).

Shelter Medicine

Vets who care for shelter animals deal with the health and welfare of pets in a unique environment. In an effort to improve quality of life for pets that have been abused, neglected, homeless or given up because of medical issues or age, shelter medicine is an important and necessary field of study which also promotes the bond we share with pets, and improves the treatment of animals.

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The Importance of Visual Cues When Training Your Dog

By Linda Cole

What we say and what we do can be two different things. We’re only human after all, but if we fail to match our words with our actions when training our dogs, we risk creating a credibility gap that can be frustrating, and cause confusion and a loss of trust. During training, it’s important to be aware of not only how you say a command but what your body language is saying to your dog. You may not notice a subtle difference in visual cues, but your dog can clearly see them. What you’re showing your dog could be why he’s confused by what you’re trying to teach him with your voice.

Some canines learn commands faster than others, and some willfully try your patience with their stubbornness. Nevertheless, all dogs are intelligent and can learn basic commands once you understand what motivates him and that he’s more likely paying attention to your body language and hand gestures than listening to your voice. What your dog observes in body language and what he hears could be puzzling to him if they differ. For example, if you hold your hand up with the palm facing your dog and lean towards him as you tell him to stay, your visual cue is saying to come and your voice is commanding him to stay.

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